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boston_bombing_suspectsBill Maher gets it right.

The Daily Caller reports:

On HBO’s “Real Time” on Friday night, host Bill Maher entertained CSU-San Bernardino professor Brian Levin, director of the Center for Study of Hate and Extremism, who maintained that despite the events in recent days, religious extremism isn’t only a product of Islam.

Hmmm, true enough in one sense, but that’s not what Levin really meant. And to his credit, Maher called the professor out:

But Maher took issue with that claim, calling it “liberal bullshit” and said there was no comparison.

“You know what, yeah, yeah,” Maher said. “You know what — that’s liberal bullshit right there … they’re not as dangerous. I mean there’s only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So you know, I’m just saying let’s keep it real.”

Levin referenced outspoken Islam critic Pamela Geller as an example to refute Maher’s claim. But, Maher argued there was no comparison and denied he was Islamophobic.

“I am not an Islamophobe,” Maher replied. “I am a truth lover. All religious are not alike. As many people have pointed out — ‘The Book of Mormon,’ did you see the show? … OK, can you imagine if they did ‘The Book of Islam?’ Could they do that? There’s only one religion that threatens violence and carries it out for things like that. Could they do “The Book of Islam” on Broadway?”

Levin said “possibly so,” to which Maher seem dismiss his entire argument going forward.

“You’re wrong about that and you’re wrong about your facts,” Maher said. “Now, obviously, most Muslim people are not terrorists. But ask most Muslim people in the world, if you insult the prophet, do you have what’s coming to you? It’s more than just a fringe element.”

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Monkey Business

The self-righteousness oozing out of Bill Maher on the clip from his show linked to here by the Washington Monthly’s Steve Benen was neither a new phenomenon nor pleasant to watch. On the other hand, the comments from Republican congressman Jack Kingston were low comedy:

“I believe I came from God, not from a monkey….If it happened over millions and millions of years, there should be lots of fossil evidence.”

Good lord (so to speak).

Possibly more revealing than Kingston’s difficulties with science are the difficulties that he has in expressing them, particularly his insistence that he believes in “adaptation”. There was also his (faulty) assumption that the National Review writer on the panel would bail him out.

The former might suggest (yes, I’m being an optimist) that the congressman does sort-of-believe in evolution after all, the latter that he believes anti-evolutionism has now become part of the standard right-wing package. That could explain why he might defend creationism in terms traditionalist enough (the monkey business) to satisfy any litmus test, while preserving enough intellectual honesty to seem a little hesitant about doing so.

Then again maybe he just doesn’t know what he’s talking about. That wouldn’t be a first for the political class – and it won’t be the last.

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